Nowadays, if you want to spend time with your kids, many dads play video games. It’s fun, even if the kids beat you. Not so long ago, before the days of I-phones, on a rainy or snowy day, dads and kids would play table games. Checkers, chess, cards, spoons, dominoes, maybe even Monopoly. We used to play Scrabble. In good weather, when it wasn’t too hot or cold, we’d get outside and play horseshoes, or a pick-up game of baseball or touch football. Oh, and ping-pong. We used to stand in the garage and play ping-pong til the wee hours. All fun, light-hearted entertainment. I don’t know about you, but some of the best times of my life, both as a kid and as a dad, were spent playing silly games with my dad or my kids.
Two observations: 1 The games weren’t just silly, often they were serious; and 2 There was a lot more going on there than fun, light-hearted entertainment. Continue reading →
In Mark 7:26-30: it says, “The woman was a Greek, [a non-Jew from Phoenicia in Syria] and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.” Then He said to her, “For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.” And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.”
So Jesus says, “It’s just not right to take the blessings that belong to the Jews and indiscriminately throw them to the outsiders.” And the woman, being a non-Jew, is referred to as a dog, to her face. It’s almost as if Jesus is trying to rile her; to see if she’s serious about getting the blessing she seeks. She must be serious; ‘cause she completely ignores the personal attack and says, in effect, “I don’t care what you say about me; I just want you to help my daughter.” (She knows that her pride and her ego don’t matter, when her daughter’s life is at stake.)
To me that’s the message of this story: When we have enough faith in Jesus, we too will let nothing (even our selfish pride) stand in the way of our trusting Him. When we do that, He will help us; and He will get a kick out of our faith and our spunk, just as He did with this woman.
‘Obstacles’ is the next to the last talk on the Kairos Weekend Program in the prisons. “We’ve been talking all weekend about God’s plan for our lives. Let me tell you what His plan is for us; to surrender ourselves to Him. To do whatever He wants us to on a minute by minute basis. To accept the gift of His grace and share it with others. Pretty simple; but it’s not easy.
What is Grace? It is unmerited favor. That means God being nice to us when we didn’t deserve it. Grace is a lot like mercy, Mercy is God being nice to us when we deserved to be punished.Continue reading →
In Ephesians 2:8-9: Paul says,“For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
And in his letter to Titus, in chapter 3, verse 5, Paul says again, “ . . not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” Did you get that? It is not by any works, not by any deeds we have done, or by any special actions we have taken, that God saves us. Particularly not by “works of righteousness”, meaning good things we’ve done to make God like us.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20: “ . . . I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.” This passage is part of the renewal of the covenant that the Lord made with the people of Israel at Mount Horeb. This comes at the end of Moses life, part of his Departing Address to the people, just before the Song of Moses that is recorded in Deut. 32. Continue reading →
Hebrews 12:5-8 says, “My son . . . and do not lose heart when He scolds you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he [corrects] everyone he accepts as his son.” . . . If you are not disciplined—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.” NIV
My son Ian, 16, just got his ‘real’ driver’s license, and an ’88 Ford pickup. Along with the license and the truck he got a few hard fast rules to live by. FIRST RULE “keep your parents informed.” Second rule: Don’t drive near the HEB, the primary shopping area by our house. It’s dangerous: traffic accidents, teenage drivers and others not paying attention; cell-phones, texting and other distractions. Not a place for an inexperienced driver.
The other night, after supper, he says, “I’m going to go drive around just for fun.” He said he’d drive in the neighboring subdivision and be back in 25 minutes . We agreed. In 25 minutes he called. He said, “I’m down here across from the HEB and the truck won’t run.” When I arrived, I asked him about gas. Turns out he bought a little gas ($2.50 worth) 3 days ago. No wonder he ran out. Continue reading →